Laurel F. McGiffert is a senior trial attorney who concentrates her practice primarily in the areas of medical liability, labor and employment law, municipal law, civil rights and general litigation.
In addition to her successful trial practice, Ms. McGiffert has extensive experience representing clients involved in Michigan's Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) system. She also has the distinction of serving as an independent arbitrator and mediator in ADR hearings.
Ms. McGiffert has represented most major hospitals in the Detroit metropolitan area, and she is frequently asked to present seminars to clients and health care organizations on such topics as nursing documentation and legal issues associated with emergency nursing care, informed consent and record keeping. Ms. McGiffert has also participated in grand rounds for a major local hospital, participated in educational mock trials and lectured at trial skills seminars sponsored by such organizations as the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA).
Ms. McGiffert has also made presentations to professionals on the subject of "Psychological Autopsy of an Adolescent" and has spoken to employer-representatives on "Staff Professionalism with Consumers: Setting Boundaries."
For more than 15 years, Ms. McGiffert was an instructor on numerous topics for the Michigan Institute of Continuing Legal Education (ICLE), including but not limited to, motion and discovery practice, deposition skills, anatomy of a lawsuit, practical evidence, demonstrative evidence, ultimate trial notebook, and common settlement and trial problems.
Representative Client Work
- Worked closely with the president/chief executive officer and an executive vice president of a large medical insurance provider to successfully litigate and, ultimately, to arbitrate a $6 million employment claim filed by a former vice president who alleged race and sex discrimination, retaliation and the existence of a hostile work environment. The case was resolved in favor of Ms. McGiffert’s clients following a “no cause of action” ruling by the arbitrator.
- Claims against the then Detroit Public Schools superintendent were dismissed from a breach of contract dispute brought by a district consultant following the court’s approval of Ms. McGiffert’s aggressive defense and request for summary disposition. While the suit was ultimately settled by the district and consultant, the personal and financial interests of Ms. McGiffert’s client were protected.
- Successfully represented the personal media consultant of former Detroit Mayor in a very high profile case claiming the consultant intentionally leaked to the media the name of a confidential police informant. Trial in that matter ultimately led to a multi-million dollar verdict against the mayor, his chief of staff and the city. Ms. McGiffert’s client was dismissed from the case prior to trial.
- Successfully tried an employment matter involving claims of alleged sexual harassment and significant damages, obtaining a no cause of action judgment on behalf of a municipal employer
- Successfully tried an alleged wrongful death case brought by the estate of a minor who committed suicide, obtaining a judgment of no cause of action for the defendant, a large private retail company
- Extensive trial experience in medical liability, employment, municipal and other litigation matters
- Defends numerous hospitals, doctors and other healthcare professionals in medical malpractice lawsuits
- Extensive medical malpractice expertise in claims involving surgery, psychiatry, pathology, hematology, emergency medicine care, gynecology, etc., encompassing hospitals, clinics, and physicians’ offices, as well as emergency medicine (ER), inpatient and outpatient medical care
- Defends both public and private employers in labor and employment matters, including trials and arbitrations
- State Bar of Michigan (Ethics Committee, 1989-1993)
- Detroit Metropolitan Bar Association
- Wolverine Bar Association
- American Board of Trial Advocates
- Michigan Defense Trial Counsel
- ALFA International DE&I Leaders Forum
- Oakland Mediation Center (Board of Directors)
- Power Company Kids Club (Board of Directors)
- American Heart Association (Volunteer Fund Raiser)
- Muscular Dystrophy Association (Volunteer Fund Raiser)
- Wayne County Easter Seal Society (Board of Directors, 1982-1990; President, Board of Directors, 1988-1990)
- CATCH - Caring Athletes Team for Children’s and Henry Ford Hospitals (Board of Trustees, past member)
- “Racial Justice and Equality, and How to Realize that Commitment,” Panelist, Michigan Lawyers Weekly" The Way Forward: A Plan for Boosting Diversity and Inclusion in Law Firms” webinar, Oct. 20, 2020
Areas of Practice
- Wayne State University Law School, J.D., 1980
- Vassar College, B.A., 1970
- Michigan, 1980
Honors & Recognitions
- Most Influential Black Lawyers, Savoy magazine, 2022
- Best Lawyers in America® for Medical Malpractice Law, 2016 - 2022
- Martindale-Hubbell’s highest rating-AV Preeminent™ Peer Review Rated
- Michigan Super Lawyer in Personal Injury Defense: Medical Malpractice, Michigan Super Lawyers, a Thomson Reuters publication, 2017 - 2021
- Earl J. Cline / Sherwin Schreier Award for Excellence, Negligence Law Section of the State Bar of Michigan, 2017
- Crain’s Detroit Business - Michigan’s Notable Women Lawyers honoree, 2017
- Hall of Fame honoree, Michigan Lawyers Weekly, 2021
- Women in the Law honoree, Michigan Lawyers Weekly, 2015
- Michigan Association for Justice Respected Advocate Award, 2012
- Top Lawyer in Medical Liability, Labor & Employment, Municipal Law, dbusiness Magazine, 2010, 2020
- Top Lawyer in General Litigation, dbusiness Magazine, 2010
- Who's Who In Black Detroit®, 2010
- Michigan Lawyers Weekly, 09.11.2015
- Best Lawyers in America®, 09.08.2015